Suddenly, everyone wants to be Tim Pawlenty’s friend

Alec Jacobs Contributor
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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is all of a sudden the most popular guy in America. Pawlenty, who dropped out of the race Sunday morning after a disappointing finish in the Ames Straw Poll, is apparently now every other candidate’s best friend. Funny how that works.

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain tweeted that Pawlenty was “one of the kindest” of his Republican opponents for the 2012 presidential nomination while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said in a statement that Pawlenty was “someone of tremendous character.” (Pawlenty exits presidential race)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the focus of many of Pawlenty’s attacks, praised the ex-governor of Minnesota for running “an honorable campaign.”

“I admire his accomplishments as a two-term governor with a record of results for his state,” Romney went on in a statement. “I consider him a friend, and I know he has a bright future ahead of him as a leader of the Republican Party.”

And Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who traded barbs with Pawlenty for weeks before a face-to-face confrontation turned into a tense sparring match with him at Fox News’ debate on Thursday, said Pawlenty “served the people of Minnesota and our country well. Our party and our country are better as a result of his service and commitment.”

Politico reports that Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the newest addition to the Republican field of candidates, also reached out to Pawlenty, hoping to get his support. “He is one of my favorite Republican governors out there,” Perry said. “I certainly hope to have him as a supporter as we go forward because we share a lot of the same values.”